If this year has proven anything, it's that all plans are a joke.
Back in March, the production team of The Bachelorette planned to film a season starring Clare Crawley. They planned to start filming a couple of weeks after Clare was announced as the new star, and they planned for us to be able to watch it just a couple of months later. They had probably also planned on us all falling in love with then-contestant (and BFF of Tyler Cameron) Matt James, so he could be a shoe-in for the next Bachelor.
Then, a global pandemic hit, and filming had to be delayed indefinitely. The season couldn't film in time to air when it normally would. Some of the planned contestants had to drop out. A massive civil rights movement gained traction and viewers began calling for the show to cast a Black Bachelor and fix its diversity problem, so Matt was announced as the next star without ever having appeared on the franchise before.
Plans were then made to film The Bachelorette in quarantine, at a resort in Palm Springs. The cast and crew settled in for the long haul, planning to film a whole season with Clare. Two weeks in, Clare apparently found the love of her life, forcing yet another change of plans.
Sources tell E! News that there will be two Bachelorettes this season. Clare will begin and end her short but apparently successful journey to find love, and then Tayshia Adams, 29, will replace her in a true first for the franchise. (ABC and WBTV have yet to confirm the reports.)
This is all without even mentioning the mess that was Bachelor Peter Weber, who proposed to Hannah Ann Sluss, broke up with her over feelings for Madison Prewett, then broke up with her and got together with his fourth-place finisher, Kelley Flanagan, after the season had already concluded.
It has truly been a roller coaster year to be a fan of this franchise, and there were times when it was a ride we wanted to get off. But all signs now feel like they're pointing in the right direction to the point where we've never been quite this excited to watch a new season of The Bachelorette.
Clare herself was already a draw. At 39, she's the oldest star of the franchise ever, and as much as we loved watching 24 year-old Hannah Brown hunt unsuccessfully for love, we truly could not wait to see what happened when a woman who was 15 years older got the same chance.
There was some side-eye to be given when Clare's initial cast list was announced and only one contestant was definitively older than her, but we still had high hopes that she might find the perfect guy somewhere in that group, and apparently we were right. We couldn't be more thrilled to hear that Clare found someone so great that she doesn't even need to finish the rest of the season, because as much as we love drama, we love love more. Or at least we love it slightly more.
The addition of Tayshia as the new Bachelorette is just the icing on the cake. She'll be the second Black female star of the franchise, and while we do have questions about her brief relationship with John Paul Jones on and after Bachelor in Paradise, she's proven herself to be delightful on television, and was at the top of many lists of potential stars before Clare was chosen.
Not only is Tayshia perfect for the job, but a midseason switch is a fun surprise in and of itself. We've had seven months to prepare to watch Clare's season, and many of the guys who were cast had five months to do their research. A new Bachelorette is a twist for us all, a bright spot to look forward to in these strange times, proof that this franchise can continue to surprise and entertain us 18 years in.
We don't know how exactly the whole season will shake out, but we do know we're more excited to find out than ever.
For a full list of Bachelor franchise firsts, scroll down!
The Bachelorette premieres Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 8 p.m. on ABC.
A version of this article was first published on Aug. 3, 2020.